What’s GBBO got to do with it?
Hot on the heels of my last post about unwinding from the stress of modern life, comes new research about the best ways to recharge during the winter months.
A study by E.ON revealed that 42% of Brits admit to having lower energy levels at this time of year, with nearly half feeling more drained this year compared to last.
You might assume that having to adapt to the cold and windy weather would be the main reason for our lethargy. But you’d be wrong. The majority – 58% – blamed British Politics, while 54% blamed… wait for it… Great British Bake Off.
Yup, you read that right – over half those surveyed said our beloved GBBO was partly responsible for their weariness.
Why? No idea, they don’t say.
I wanted to write a follow up to the relaxation list I published in that last blog, this time focusing on recharging. Clearly we’re having a ‘hump month’, and need a kick up the backside. If we want to cast off this lethargy, a candlelit soak in a hot bath just isn’t going to cut it.
When we’re feeling low, resting might seem like the solution. But in my experience, inactivity can lead to wallowing, which is a slippery slope folks.
Do you want to be alone with your thoughts when you’re feeling drained, or could you benefit from recharging instead?
My advice is really simple. Just move. I’m not suggesting anything too strenuous. Here are a few options:
Recharge Level One: folding in half
According to movement expert Roger Frampton, folding in half (standing feet hip width apart and touching your toes), refreshes the blood flow to your brain and helps you re-energize and recharge for the day.
A minute in this position is all you need to feel the benefit. Roll up slowly, one vertebra at a time to prevent back strain and dizziness.
Recharge Level Two: go outside
Just go outside. Wrap up warm, get yourself al fresco and BREATHE. Go for a walk, borrow a dog, hell you can sprint if you have to. But put your phone away, focus on your breathing and inhale nature.
I can almost feel my synapses firing up while I write this.
The only thing I do consistently is walk with the dog two, sometimes three times a day, every single day, without fail. Coco is reliant on me for fresh air and access to squirrels, so what choice do I have? Often, I’m not in the mood for my second walk of the day, particularly if it’s raining and I have work to do. By the time I’m out there in the woods, wrapped up and hooded, I can’t help smiling as I watch Coco’s little wiggling bottom trot along the path ahead.
Recharge Level Three: dance or sing (or both)
(I’ll caveat this paragraph by admitting that I’m currently involved in both of these activities, but that given my record with commitment, I can’t guarantee continuity.)
Regular readers will be well aware of my allergy to exercise. You can read about my ridiculous experience with HIIT here. I did join a gym but cancelled my membership when it dawned on me I was spending more time in the café than in any activity.
Dear reader, I think I may, just may, have found a form of exercise I love.
I have found a ‘dance, fit and tone’ class. We learn a fast paced, 80s style aerobics dance routine, to a cheesy dance anthem. Most of the women in the class lack coordination (including me) and we often step on each others’ toes. The teacher is enthusiastic, sings along while screaming instructions and makes us all laugh. At the end of the class I’m a sweaty, beetroot-coloured mess. I bloody love it.
Last week, I joined a community choir. No religious undertones here. It’s folk and rock ‘n’ roll – think Elvis and Neil Sedaka and you’ll be in the right era. I’ve always wanted to join a choir but felt too intimidated to join an established group. This choir’s first rehearsal was last week, so I’m a founding member. We’re all in the same, slightly awkward, but also ridiculously excited boat.
Oh, the unbridled joy of singing your lungs out in a group, with descants and harmonies and everything. This is the closest I have ever come to the athlete’s endorphin high – and I was only singing. Highly recommended.
Our first performance will be at the school’s winter fair. I can’t wait to see the look of horror on my children’s faces.
Other activities that give me a proverbial kick up the arse include cooking a hearty meal; writing – I can be rejuvenated when I get in the flow with my writing; and also working. I have had such a positive and productive week, that I have to admit work gives me a buzz.
Right, I’m off to make some warming mushroom soup and then I’m going to choir rehearsal number two.
And as for you… and I say this with love… stop reading this and get off your backside!
[Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by E.ON, to help advertise their wide range of products and services. Although I was paid for this advertisement, all views are my own.]